Holidays are serious business. Waking up at 3:30 AM. Entering a bus to the airport that smells like a weed plantation. Being stuck between Drunken Italian idiots on said bus. Breakfast at Burger King. Going through security. Second breakfast at McDonalds. Waiting for 3 hours before you can board the plane. Waiting an extra hour because the plane is late. Finally board the plane. Smile seductively at the cute stewardesses as you enter the plane. Seeing the stewardesses cringe because some idiot smelling of fast food and weed is smirking at them creepily. Good times.
I got put in the idiot corner of the plane again. People in front of me complaining about everything. People next to me making shitty jokes non-stop for 14 hours. Old guy behind me thinking the way to operate your touchscreen movie player is by punching your fist through it. Guess who’s headrest as shaking like an earthquake every half an hour. It’s enough to start questioning your own sanity.
Fast forward 15 hours of earthquakes, I finally arrived in Mexico. Took an unmarked cab with an one eyed driver to my Airbnb (I kid, I took the bus, haven’t taken an unmarked cab with a one eyed driver in over two years). The Airbnb was excellent. Only two blocks from the bus station and the beach. My own bedroom apartment with communal pool thatseems to be the hotspot for overweight elderly American ladies. Also, did I mention my own private balcony with electric fence and construction site view? Sweaty fat Americans at the pool, sweaty fat Mexicans in my back yard. Love this place!
Of course, wanting to get as much as possible out of my holiday, first thing I did was sleep for 14 hours. As I woke up 10:30 local time (jetlags are for suckers) I was reminded of my caffeine addiction through a very helpful headache. Bought myself some bottled agua. Got blisters on my hand from trying to open it (they close these suckers on tight out here) and went out to get lunch. Lovely Ceviche at the local food market. They had American football on. After 30 mins of studying AF I can safely conclude AF means commercials mixed with highlights of Afro-Americans bashing each other’s heads in. The only white people on the field are the team captain (the quarterback) and the coaches. Draw your own conclusions.
Finished my ceviche and went for some coffee. Seeing as I am a conneuseur, I walked past all the chain stores and sat down at a cute little local place called Starbucks. After having been helped in fluent English by a local barista, I sat down on the terrace to do some people watching. Across the street there was a jewellery stand operated by a tiny Mexican guy (seriously, he was like 1.40 meters tall). For fifteen minutes I watched him put his moves on a really cute Latina that was towering over him. Not only did he manage to sell her two pieces, she was giggling the entire time and sat down on the steps next to the stand afterwards. He proceeded to go stand next to her with his legs spread wide and make her giggle some more. She looked like she could have been a movie star. He looked kind of like what you’d expect a 1.40 Mexican to look like and yet he had her enamoured. I wanted to go up to him and ask “please teach me o wise Mexican jewellery playboy”. Unfortunately my Spanish failed me.
Here’s a quick sketch from memory. Cojones may or may not be as big as I remember them.
All Mexican men act macho and contemplative. Back home men only try to stare you down when they’re looking for a fight. Here, it’s the national sport. I’m adapting to it; staring down hombres left and right whilst walking through town like a cowboy with a pensive look on my face. Pretty sure I’d get a Mexican passport right away if it wasn’t for the blond hair, blue eyes and being over 1.80 tall.
I wanted to get a nice cigar so I stopped watching el petito machado doing his thang and went to the only shop in Playa del Carmen selling real Cuban cigars. Planning on spending maybe 100 pesos (5€), I entered la Casa del Habano. Turns out the cheapest ones ere 300 pesos a pop. Not wanting to break with my new macho personality, I bought the biggest one I could find for around that price whilst pretending like I didn’t mind shelling out 15€ on a single cigar ( 😥 ).
Afterwards I walked to the beach to make a few quick sketches. There was a Mexican couple having their wedding photos taken, looking really happy. Tried sketching them but they were refusing to stand still. Still, not bad for a 10 minute sketch.
Also made one of a fishing boat and a couple of swimmers playing on a distant pier. Mexicans seem so much more at ease with being openly happy than Europeans.
Smoking the Cuban whilst writing this piece on my private balcony with the magnificent view. Now off to get some tacos and staredowns!